The Horticulture team at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan continue to work away at clearing the many weeds and invasive species across the 416 acres of diverse land in the Garden, with African olive (Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata) being the prime offender.
It's hard to comprehend the scale of the ecological damage across Australia from plants that were introduced into the landscape and quickly became invasive. However, the Western Sydney Dry Rainforest (WSDR) is right here in our backyard and one of the more critical examples of a highly restricted endangered ecological community (EEC) and highlights how our biodiversity is under threat from invasive species.
Restoring the native plants that have been squeezed out takes a coordinated effort that involves the local community, scientists at the Australian PlantBank and of course the horticulturists collecting seeds, propagating plants in the Nursery, clearing invasive species and reintroducing plants back into their natural habitat.
Being endangered, this EEC is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild within the next 20 years. The WSDR is found at higher elevation areas in the outskirts of the Sydney Basin Bioregion, in association with slightly higher rainfall and clay soil derived from shale, with sandstone rocky outcrops.
Our Western Sydney Rainforest Rescue project is part funded by the New South Wales Environmental Trust and works toward the conservation of the diverse plants found within the WSDR, through the establishment of a ‘Diversity Showcase’ and the ongoing regeneration of existing WSDR areas at the Garden.
Take a look at how African olive spread on the Mount Annan summit from 1984 to 2014 below.
This is just one of several locations where African olive has spread throughout the region, decimating local flora.